State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) says he does not apologize for his comments saying women who carry guns are “learning how not to be a victim” of rape, and says the criticism he’s received is unfounded and his words have been “twisted and taken out of context.”
Lucas drew criticism last week after posting a letter he wrote to the IndyStar responding to an article about a rape victim. “This is obviously a horrible event, so why not do a story on women that choose not to be victims and who are taking classes to learn how not to be a victim and how to defend themselves?” Lucas wrote.
The reaction to the post was swift. It included those who accused Lucas of “victim blaming.” But it also included responses from those who were sympathetic to Lucas’ message of self-empowerment through the Second Amendment.
In the days since, Lucas has responded to the criticism in several Facebook posts and a letter to the editor published in the IndyStar Monday.
“Instead of discussing the matter civilly, many used reprehensible verbal abuse to condemn my letter, which was intended to help protect women from violent attack,” Lucas wrote in the letter. “The media picked up on it and ran with it, but at what cost?”
Lucas says in a Facebook post he is working on legislation to eliminate the backlog of unprocessed rape kits in Indiana. State Police plan to conduct an audit of untested sexual assault kits, in response to a measure lawmakers passed this year urging the state police to conduct an audit.
Lucas has drawn criticism in the past for posts on Facebook, even prompting House Speaker Brian Bosma to give remedial social media training to Republicans earlier this year.
Lucas brought up those controversial posts again this week. One post showed a woman in the trunk of a car, which resulted in a meeting with domestic violence prevention advocates. At the time of that post, Lucas apologized and deleted it.
Lucas also shared another photo that drew criticism early this year, showing a woman getting pepper sprayed by an officer in riot gear.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.